Deployment of Global Hawk in Japan mulled

Kyodo

Japan and the U.S. might deploy the Global Hawk, a high-altitude reconnaissance drone, at Misawa Air Base in Aomori Prefecture to increase surveillance of North Korea, bilateral sources said Saturday.

Equipped with sophisticated cameras and sensitive communications capabilities, the U.S. Global Hawk can fly at about 18,000 meters, roughly twice as high as commercial aircraft, for more than 30 hours on autopilot. It does not carry any weapons.

Interest in monitoring North Korea has been climbing since it began threatening nuclear strikes, and reportedly moved a midrange missile to its east coast Thursday.

Misawa Air Base is just one of several possible deployment locations for the drone, the sources said.

While the Japan-based drone plan would allow Tokyo and Washington to observe North Korea more frequently, some in the U.S. Defense Department have voiced apprehension about the cost involved.

  • Burt Way

    To look down on most of North Korea, this aircraft would have to fly over NK’s airspace. Or else only loiter over the border and view the DMZ. True?

    • CarmenVasquez

      It can view up to 80km on each side. In reality, it is unlikely to be challenged by North Korea’s air force – which has proven to be a danger to itself; during the last escalation over Yeonpyeong the North Korean air force lost a few fighters because their pilots are not adequately trained.

    • geo prism

      At that height it would have a very very broad view and the curvature of the earth wouldn’t be an issue so distance should not be a problem…but yes North Korea is Mountainous so it would be beneficial to look straight down and not from the side.